What if we turned the idea of smoking foods around. This summer we tried using cocoa nibs and coffee beans to smoke foods. It did not work. I wonder if we used a vaporizer instead if we could capture these aromas? That is another idea and one which will involve me trying to convince Aki we need a vaporizer. (And that will not be approached until the newness of the Pacojet wears off, let's say in two years. Though if anyone has a vaporizer in the area and wants to let me put cocoa nibs and coffee beans in it, please feel to drop me a line.)
My mind wandered a bit there, though I am now back on track. Recently I wanted to see if it was possible to smoke foods with fruits. We use fruit wood to create the smoke for smoking foods so why not use the actual fruit? My first attempt at this process was a smashing success. We used completely dried apple chips which we lit on fire on our stove. I then put the smoking chips in a metal bowl and covered it with a cloche. The chips smolder and then go out, leaving the cloche full of smoke that is rich with the aroma of apples combined with traditional wood smoke nuances. Eureka. Now my brain is accelerating. What to smoke? How to best capture the smoke? What other fruits can we use? While I first thought of apple smoking eggs, I believe our first real test will be apple smoked scallops. Like the classic combination of bacon and eggs, scallops and bacon are a wonderful duo that are hard to resist. We should also try and apple smoke apples to see how apple smoke accents the juicy flavor of the fresh fruit. Aki's leaning towards apple smoked soy sauce or even apple smoked ginger ale. As the various ideas whiz through air, our kitchen happily smells as if Bouley's apple lined restaurant entrance married Blue Smoke.
*As an aside, banana chips work as well. While the smoke, like the smell of banana, is sweetly perfumed and nicely balanced, it is not overly intense with the aroma of the fruit, in contrast to the apple smoke.